Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fat Tuesday
By Michael

The iconic carnaval mask.
The city of La Paz, Mexico exploded these past several days with a barrage of color and cacophony of sound. Carnaval was here.

While there are larger carnaval celebrations in Mexico (Mazatlan is probably the biggest), the celebration we enjoyed in La Paz retains a home town feel where folks watching the parade call out to friends on the floats.

Festivities began in the afternoon, when the air filled with the smells of deep-fried churros, steamed corn, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs. About 5:00 p.m., the parade began its slow craw down the seaside drag, closed to traffic until the morning. The beach and anchorage abutting this route provided a respite from the hustle, bustle, light, and color.

The post-parade crowd grew eash night. By the time the headliner took the main stage late Tuesday, the crush of people was difficult to sqeeze through. Yet children still darted underfoot, undeterred in their bid to reach the cotton candy vendors. An invisible hand would seem to part the crowd for strollers.

On the carnaval perimeters, thousands of lights fixed to amusement park rides flashed and careened. Many of the rides were tame enough to delight little ones and others were raucous and perilous enough to entice the teens. Booths of games of skill and chance were everywhere, sucking up pesos at a furious pace.

Following is a video of Eleanor enjoying one of the not-so-tame carnaval activities. The background audio is a pretty mild representation of the boisterous soundtrack of carnaval:


There was a heavy nautical theme; not sure whether this is this year's theme
or the same every year.

The floats were heavy on paper mache and kids in costume.

The girls and I taking it in.

If these capes wind up in
the tires...
Lots of recycled materials
used on the floats too. Here
note the LPs, CDs, and bottoms
of green plastic bottles--among
other things.
I thought, "Pretty girl in an outrageous costume,"
but then he climbed back on the transvestite float.
There were several environmental-, human rights-,
and sexual freedom-themed floats.

Another reminder that the Baja peninnsula is culturally more similar to
California  than to mainland Mexico. Even the language is different.
When your car breaks in Baja, you go to the autopartes store. When
it breaks in mainland Mexico, you go to a refaccionaria.

This was the main stage featuring the big acts. There were at least three
additional stages, all competing to see which could be loudest.

Windy, the girls, and our friends Tim and Nancy waiting out a 15-minute
lull in the parade, ostensibly due to a vehicle breakdown.


  1. Wow, Madeleine would LOVE to get shot around the sky on giant rubber bands! She loved all of the fast scary rides at Disney last month. Poseidon and other ancient Greek gods are standard Mardi Gras themes. Looks like fun was had by all!

  2. Love the Carnival pictures! Hope to show my boys a great parade like that some day.


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